Table I.23.3Advantages and disadvantages of different dispensing methods

Dispenser typeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Wall- and bed-mounted dispensers
  • HCWs know where they are – can allow attainment of hand hygiene in alignment with the “Five moments” concept
  • Can be operated by a no-touch system (if elbow-operated)
  • Standardized with regard to refill (freedom to choose other suppliers)
  • Visible for staff, patients and visitors
  • Not always placed in convenient locations; in some units they will not align with the requirements of the “Five moments” concept
  • Dependent on good service (refilling and maintenance)
  • Patients and visitors can access and ingest (e.g. areas where patients are confused and paediatric wards)
  • Splashes on floor that stain certain floor surfaces
Table-top dispensers (pumps)
  • Use at point of care allowing attainment of hand hygiene in alignment with the “Five moments” concept
  • Low costs
  • No fixed location
  • Patients and visitors can access and ingest (e.g. elderly and paediatric wards)
  • No-touch difficult
Pocket- and clip-on dispensers
  • Constant access by HCWs – increased perception of self-efficacy among HCWs
  • No access for patients and visitors for safety purposes
  • Can run-out at point of care, thus require back-up and facilitated access in wards for refill
  • Costs
  • Dependent on supplier (clip-on)
  • Environmental concerns and disposal if containers are not reused
Automated-wall mounted
  • Faster and “aesthetically appealing”
  • No touch
  • Unusable when out of order
  • Standardized amount of product preset
  • Costs of maintenance
  • Dependent on supplier

From: 23, Practical issues and potential barriers to optimal hand hygiene practices

Cover of WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care
WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: First Global Patient Safety Challenge Clean Care Is Safer Care.
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